DERRY — Taylor Library Director Linda Merrill said she remembers how cold the library used to be before an energy audit was conducted several years ago by the Town's Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee.
During the winter, frigid winds would buffet the aging building and send staff members seeking warmer places within the library, Merrill said.
"We used to have to go to the end of the stacks," Merrill said. "You could feel breezes blowing."
But all that changed after the audit was conducted in 2010, Merrill said.
"It's been well worth it," Merrill said. "It's warmer now, and they are a good group."
Part of the committee's mission is to work with residents, business owners and town staff on energy concerns and ways to reduce costs.
Advisory committee member Tom Minnon, who performed the audit, recommended the library take such simple steps as changing standard light bulbs for the more modern, efficient ones, Merrill said.
The library was able to use staff, volunteers and trustees to make this and other cost saving changes, Merrill said.
Minnon also recommended switching the hot water heater for a much smaller, point- of-use model that heats up water only as it is needed and doesn't run continuously like the older one, Merrill said.
"It's unbelievable," Merrill said of the cost savings.
Other steps included adding new storm windows and setting the thermostat so it automatically shuts off a half-hour before closing and switches back on a half-hour before the library opens. In addition, joints were also sealed with oil paint; a flood light was replaced with a more efficient LED spotlight; the attic and front door were weather stripped; and outlet covers were replaced with better insulated ones, Merrill said.
Those changes have resulted in a savings of 20 percent for the library, said Maureen Reno, newly elected chair of the advisory committee.
The committee has also worked with town administrators to lower electricity costs at Veteran's Hall, resulting in a savings of 30 percent, said Reno, who recently made a presentation to the Town Council about the committee's mission and the members' desire to work with councilors in the future.
"These are real savings and our committee would love to be involved with savings in the future because we are taxpayers as well and we want to see those costs go down," Reno told councilors.
Along with conducting energy audits, the advisory committee also holds a series of lectures twice a year. As part of the series, Minnon is scheduled to give a lecture on Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Derry Public Library.
Minnon, who has 35 years of experience in energy conservation and renewable energy, will show homeowners several inexpensive methods to save energy and lower heating and hot water costs.